This week's review is of the new Illusione 88 Maduro! There are 5 sizes in the maduro line and I decided to try the 88 because I've smoked more of the regular Illusione 88's than any other size in the line. This cigar has the normal Illusione filler and binder, but with a San Andreas Maduro wrapper. The new maroon band for the maduro line looks great. The 88 is a 5x52 robusto.
The 88 Maduro has a very firm feel to it and an overall even roll. The color is slightly mottled dark brown, but definitely a natural looking wrapper, not jet black. There aren't any flaws in the oily wrapper. The aroma at the foot is of light hay and leather. The prelight draw shows a slightly resistant (but not overly) draw with an earthy flavor. Once lit this cigar starts out with some black pepper spice, leather, deep earth and some cedar. Just a little bit into this cigar a weird small hole appeared in the wrapper just above the burnline. I am guessing some slightly uneven bunching made it tunnel just a little bit. I was able to keep smoking like normal and burned through the whole without any additional problems. The burn hasn't been perfect on this cigar, but a few minor touchups along the way fix it easily. This has a darker/deeper flavor than the normal 88, the maduro wrapper is really showing through in the flavor profile.
At the halfway point there is even more of that earth and leather flavor, with some dark coffee and an almost charred meat flavor coming through. I would say this is a full bodied/flavored medium strength cigar so far. As I get into the final third the flavor profile hasn't changed a whole lot, other than some walnut nuttyness showing up every few draws. The strength moves into the medium to full range at the end.
Overall the Illusione 88 Maduro is a solid cigar, but I think I will stick with the regular 88s. This has a darker and deeper profile, but the San Andreas wrapper overshadows some of the classic flavors I get out of the Illusione blend. It is definitely worth trying though, I can see some people enjoying the darker profile that the San Andreas wrapper adds to this cigar. These sell for about a dollar more than the original Illusione 88, putting them in the $8-9 range. I would say if you come across them, give it a try at least once to see if you like this version. I am glad I gave it a shot because I love almost all of Dion's cigars, but if given the choice of the maduro or the natural, give me the natural!